First Citizens Bank Announces $16 Billion Community Benefits Plan with NCRC

Five-year reinvestment plan builds on bank’s work, targets resources of the proposed merged company on underserved communities 

First Citizens Bank announced today a $16 billion community benefits plan — developed in collaboration with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) — that builds on its work to reinvest in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities and neighborhoods of color.

Under this plan, First Citizens Bank would support lending and investing in the areas of affordable housing, small business and community development over a five-year period from 2021-2025, following completion of the proposed merger of First Citizens BancShares, Inc. (“First Citizens”), the parent company of First Citizens Bank, and CIT Group Inc. (“CIT”).

“We’re pleased to announce a plan to bring additional investment to our markets and help grow these vibrant and diverse communities and businesses — at a time when these efforts are truly needed,” said Frank B. Holding, chairman and chief executive officer of First Citizens. “We have a legacy of giving back to the cities and towns we serve, and this plan serves as a testimony to the commitments and values that will represent our combined company. We’re glad to establish a new partnership with NCRC and its members in creating this plan and look to build even stronger relationships that will last well into the future.”

The $16 billion five-year commitment features the following:

  • $6.9 billion for community development lending and investments, including affordable housing opportunities and small business lending to nonprofits and small for-profit developers that support LMI communities;
  • $5.9 billion for lending to small businesses, supporting the growth of companies with less than $1 million in annual revenues and in LMI and majority/minority geographies; and
  • $3.2 billion for home purchase mortgage loans, focusing on LMI and minority borrowers and/or minority/majority geographies.

“This community benefits plan expands on the ongoing work that we’ve already put in place to support affordable home ownership, small business lending and community development,” Holding said. “It solidifies our path forward and will accelerate new opportunities for underserved communities and customers.”

The support provided through the plan will assist communities that First Citizens Bank will serve across the combined company’s retail bank footprint.

First Citizens participated in virtual listening sessions late last year with national and state members of NCRC, an association of more than 600 community-based organizations that promote access to basic banking services, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, job creation and vibrant communities for America’s working families. The plan is a direct result of input received from those meetings and was formed in conjunction with the NCRC and its member organizations.

“We appreciate the leadership and proactive efforts of First Citizens to collaborate with us and develop a substantial plan that makes a significant commitment of investments, services and loans for LMI communities and neighborhoods of color,” said NCRC CEO Jesse Van Tol. “Our members played a critical role and provided essential input in our discussions. It’s rewarding when institutions and communities can come together like this to make a lasting impact.”

In addition, the plan provides $50 million for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)-qualified philanthropic giving through 2025. Also, a community advisory board will provide input and feedback on the plan’s progress.

In October 2020, First Citizens and CIT announced a proposed merger, which would create a top 20 U.S. bank based on assets. The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. The combined company will operate under the First Citizens name. For more information, visit firstcitizens.com.

NCRC Member Quotes:

“CRC is pleased to see First Citizens Bank maintain and increase commitments that CIT had made to California, as the bank grows its presence in our state,” said Kevin Stein, Deputy Director of the California Reinvestment Coalition. “At a time when California’s small businesses are being hit hard by COVID-19 and low-income communities are facing unemployment and struggling to remain housed, it’s encouraging to see First Citizens reaching out to meet the housing and community development needs of these communities by promoting homeownership, aiding small businesses, and helping community land trusts secure properties for community benefit at the expense of large corporate speculators. We look forward to seeing First Citizens Bank honor these pledges for the benefit of California communities.” 

“Many years ago I was the signatory for a community reinvestment agreement that was a groundbreaking event,” said Irvin Henderson, President and CEO – Henderson and Company.

“This agreement and its potential to meet the credit needs of the citizens of North Carolina and the rest of the First Citizens footprint, make it a groundbreaking event. We look forward to execution and solving the credit needs identified within this agreement.”

“I am proud to join NCRC and First Citizens in this new community benefits agreement that strengthens First Citizens commitment to its home state of North Carolina as it expands across the nation,” said Stella Adams, Owner and CEO of S J Adams Consulting. “I am so excited about First Citizen’s commitment to work with housing agencies on mortgage product innovation, including a mortgage recovery product for people that have lost jobs or small businesses through no fault of their own due to COVID.” 

“We are pleased with First Citizens’ commitment to fully serve the lending and financial services needs of people with modest incomes and people of color in the Milwaukee area,” said Bethany Sanchez, Senior Administrator at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council. “Our community looks forward to working closely with the bank to implement their plan.” 

“R.E.A.C.H. is very pleased to have been a part of this Community Benefits Agreement,” said Patricia Tracey, President for Real Estate Education And Community Housing Inc. “Just as it says, the agreement will benefit the communities served by First Citizens. NCRC has again led our nonprofit community in efforts to benefit the low-income residents with greater services. This is a positive outcome for all.” 

“I am anticipating that this agreement will have significant economic benefits for Black businesses and the Black community,” said Gerry McCants, Co Chair and Co Founder of the Greensboro Business League, Inc.

“Developing a skilled workforce, ready to meet the demands of industry and the needs of employers is crucial to supporting business resurgence as a result of COVID19,” said Bernita Sims, Executive Director of the Welfare Reform Liaison Project, Inc. “Apprenticeship opportunities for employers and job seekers has never been more important than it is today.” 

“YWCA Southeast Wisconsin is committed to eliminating racism and empowering women,” said Ginny Finn, President & CEO, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin. “Working collaboratively with NCRC and sister organizations on agreements like this is vital to building an equitable community for all.”

Organizations that helped create and signed on to the community benefits plan:

Affordable Homeownership Foundation, Inc.

Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc.

Avenue

Bank On Greater Milwaukee

Bennett College

California Reinvestment Coalition

CCEDA

Centre for Homeownership & Economic Development Corporation

Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida

Community Link Programs of Travelers Aid Society of Central Carolinas Inc

Community Reinvestment Alliance of South Florida

Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People

Fahe

Family Assessment Counseling & Education Services-FACES

Georgia Advancing Communities Together, Inc.

Goldenrule Housing & Community Development Corp

Green Homeowners United

Greensboro Business League, Inc.

H.O.P.E. Through Divine Intervention, Inc.

Henderson and Company

Housing Assistance Council

Local First Arizona

Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council

Multicultural Real Estate Alliance for Urban Change 

North Carolina Housing Coalition, Inc.

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida, Inc.

Pima County Community Land Trust

Prestamos CDFI

Prosperity Unlimited, inc.

Real Estate Education And Community Housing Inc

Reinvestment Partners

Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center

S J Adams Consulting

Solita’s House, Inc.

Southern Dallas Progress Community Development Corporation

St. Petersburg Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. dba Neighborhood Home Solutions

TCH Development, Inc.

Texas Association of Community Development Corporations

The Twenty Inc

TRUST South LA

Welfare Reform Liaison Project, Inc.

White Oak Foundation Inc

YWCA Southeast Wisconsin

Summary of the Community Benefits Plan between the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company

First Citizens will lend or invest $16 billion to underserved borrowers and communities over a five-year period from 2021 through 2025. This commitment comes out to approximately 15% of First Citizen’s post-merger assets, or 18% of its deposits. 

Mortgage Lending to the Underserved

Community Benefits Commitment:        $3.2 billion over 5 years

First Citizens commits to separate and specific home purchase, home improvement and refinancing goals for African Americans, Latinas/Latinos, Asians/Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, communities of color, borrowers with LMI, and communities with LMI, that represent 35% increases over what First Citizens and CIT Bank were previously lending. To achieve this, First Citizens is committing to alternative approaches to underwriting that factor in utility and rental payments, having bilingual staff available and additional outreach and partnerships with community organizations. First Citizens will also develop a mortgage recovery product for people that have lost jobs or small businesses through no fault of their own due to COVID.

Small Business Lending

Community Benefits Commitment:         $5.9 billion over 5 years

First Citizens will increase it’s lending to small businesses by 20% over the amount of lending that First Citizens and CIT Bank were previously doing, with each state in First Citizens footprint getting an increase. First Citizens will work with local small business organizations to set up referral relationships for businesses that First Citizens is currently unable to lend to so they can get assistance, and set a goal to refer at least 25% of declined loans to such nonprofits. First Citizens also commits to working with CDFIs and small business assistance organizations on a responsible small dollar product with non-predatory features.  

Community Development Lending and Investment (CDLI)

Community Benefits Commitment:            $6.9 billion over 5 years

First Citizens will increase it’s community development loans and investments by 21% over the amount that First Citizens and CIT Bank were previously doing, with each state in First Citizens footprint getting an increase. First Citizens will start tracking how much of their community development loans and investments are with organizations led by people of color and commit to increasing these partnerships over the course of the agreement. First Citizens will also explore how the bank could increase support for land banks and land trusts.

Philanthropy

Community Benefits Commitment:            $50 million over 5 years

First Citizens will distribute $50 million in CRA qualified grants over the next five years, a 23% increase over what First Citizens and CIT Bank were previously doing, and commits that each state in First Citizens footprint will get an increase. First Citizens will begin to track CRA eligible grants to organizations led by people of color, and commit to increasing this funding over the term of the agreement, as well as supporting 30 new organizations that either First Citizens or CIT Bank has not previously partnered with. First Citizens will also support programs where mental health workers travel and assist law enforcement when responding to mental health emergency calls, so that the police are not the only ones responding to those situations. 

Strategic Planning and Local Implementation

First Citizens will direct their market leaders and senior staff to work with community-based organizations in North Carolina and South Carolina to come up with specific plans for how the agreement will be implemented in these states. The plans will look at issues related to racial equity, rural banking & services, housing & community development, small business lending and social impact investing. First Citizens has also developed specific sub goals for North Carolina that include a 200% increase in community development loans and investments for the state. NCRC and First Citizens will work together on a schedule for additional state specific plans – such as Florida, Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas and Arizona – after North Carolina and South Carolina.

Honoring and Expanding Previous CIT Commitments to California

First Citizens commits to honoring the commitments of the community benefits plan previously negotiated by NCRC, CRC and CIT Bank. In addition, First Citizens will create a new $25 million investment and grants initiative for housing preservation opportunities, $5 million for a new Affordable Home Mortgage Program for discounts or subsidies on mortgages in majority-minority census tracts in California, and $5 million to establish a small business grants assistance program for small and underserved California businesses.

Rural Spotlight

First Citizens will create a multi-disciplinary team to focus on the credit, investment and service needs of its rural footprint, including how First Citizens can best increase support for CDFIs serving rural areas. 

Agreement Accountability

First Citizens will form a Community Advisory Board that will review and discuss progress toward the plan’s goals and objectives. First Citizens will also provide annual progress reports on this agreement, using a format mutually agreed upon with NCRC. These reports will highlight how this agreement is increasing wealth and opportunity for people of color and will be available to the public.

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About First Citizens

First Citizens BancShares, Inc. is the financial holding company for Raleigh, North Carolina-headquartered First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company (“First Citizens Bank”). As one of America’s largest family-controlled banks, First Citizens Bank (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender) is known for building financial strength that lasts for personal, business, commercial and wealth management clients. Founded in 1898, First Citizens Bank provides a broad range of financial products and operates a network of branches in 19 states that include many high-growth markets. For more information, visit First Citizens’ website at firstcitizens.com. First Citizens Bank. Forever First®.

About NCRC

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and its grassroots member organizations create opportunities for people to build wealth. We work with community leaders, policymakers and financial institutions to champion fairness in banking, housing and business. NCRC was formed in 1990 by national, regional and local organizations to increase the flow of private capital into traditionally underserved communities. NCRC has grown into an association of more than 600 community-based organizations in 42 states that promote access to basic banking services, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, job creation and vibrant communities for America’s working families. More: www.ncrc.org.

Contact Information

Barbara Thompson
First Citizens Bank
Director of Corporate Communications and Brand Marketing
919-716-2716
barbara.thompson@firstcitizens.com

Alyssa Wiltse
NCRC
202-393-8309
awiltse@ncrc.org

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Originally published by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition: Source

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